As a youth-driven organization, we’re here to champion the issues most critical to young people, and make sure our democracy is working for them. That means we take our lead from you.
We put boots on the ground to pass initiatives, organize our community, and get out the vote for the biggest issues of our time. Learn more below about how we organize around issues important to the Bus Youth Agenda.
We know our democracy works best when everyone can participate. That’s why the Bus has been at the forefront of voting rights and election reform legislation. We spent years working on campaign finance reform to ensure that strong community-based leaders are able to run for office to represent their community and win, not just the person who has the most access to money. In 2015 we were the largest youth mobilization effort to pass Honest Elections Seattle, the first campaign finance reform measure of its kind in the country. We’ll continue to work to ensure that all people have a voice at the political table.
The Bus was a key mobilizing force in passing marriage equality with Referendum 74 in our state in 2012, setting a precedent for the rest of the country. But as you know, the movement doesn’t end there. There’s still so much to work to do to assure equity and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Washingtonians – like banning conversion therapy, promoting trans-inclusive healthcare, and ensuring the LGBTQ community is protected from discrimination.
In 2016, we worked with Washington Won’t Discriminate to prevent a proposed anti-trans initiative from making it to the ballot. And we’ll keep fighting to make sure our LGBTQ community is safe, protected from discrimination, and has equitable access to resources.
We’re looking at one of biggest wealth divides in our history and across the world. With Seattle quickly becoming one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., a rise in people experiencing homelessness, and with over forty percent of Millennials 18-29 living with student loan debt, or in a house with someone who does, there’s no one easy solution to this problem – it will take a complex mix of policies, advocacy, and grassroots organizing.
The Bus has been instrumental in expanding transit several times over to ensure the resources and jobs people can access are not limited by their location or ability to afford a car, organized to ensure a livable wage for workers with Yes for SeaTac in 2013, setting a precedent for Seattle and the rest of the country to increase the minimum wage, and renewing and expanding Seattle’s Housing Levy in 2016 to continue prioritizing affordable housing and homelessness prevention services. The Bus will continue fighting to ensure all people have access to the resources they need to not just survive, but to thrive.
Criminal justice reform
Our generation is rising up against a racist “justice” system. As of September 2015, Black/African American people make up 18% of our state’s incarcerated population, but only 4% of our general population. That is not acceptable. With the media and general populace finally starting to take notice of illegal killings by the police, Washington is in a prime position to lead our nation by example.
The Bus is an early endorser of proposed Initiative 873, which would, “amend the law that exempts public officers and peace officers from criminal liability for using deadly force under specific circumstances.” We will continue to work with our community to bring justice back to our broken system.
The Bus worked with One America and the WA Dream Act Coalition to ensure the passage of the Washington State DREAM Act, taking a bold step towards making sure all of our students can attend college and setting an example for the rest of the country. Then, when the Department of Homeland Security scolded our state for not being compliant with the REAL ID Act, our state kind of Kanye-shrugged and said #sorrynotsorry… We’re so here for it, but we still have more work to do. The Bus supports state citizenship and other progressive immigration policies.
How we handle climate change may just be one of the defining issues of our generation. The environment is not looking so good, and the people suffering the most are low-income folks living among polluted rivers and breathing factory-polluted air.
The Bus has a long history of partnering with climate-focused organizations to build a strong base of supports for climate action. We’ve worked to expand transit, including both busses and light rail, to cut down on carbon emissions. But there is so much more to be done to ensure that no communities are bearing the brunt of this problem.